Suspect in basketball court vandalism arrested

Times-Herald Newspapers

HEGHTS – A 51-year old resident was arrested July 17 after allegedly vandalizing a basketball court at Daly Park.

James Mathis allegedly cut down basketball nets and wrote offensive words aimed at black teens on the court.

Mathis allegedly approached the group of youths who were playing basketball about 6 a.m. that day, and called them derogatory names then asked them if they “liked their hoops”, according to reports.

Dearborn Heights Police Department Lt. James Serwatowski said Mathis then threatened the children with a 16-gauge shotgun.

A witness said he heard a gun being racked, meaning a spent round was removed and a new one put in the gun’s chamber. The witness then ran home to tell his parents.

Neighbors told officers that Mathis left the neighborhood in a blue car about a 30 minutes before the police arrived. Mathis came back later in a blue Chevrolet Impala and was arrested. He told the officers that he had stored the shotgun behind the front door of his house, and was given permission to get the weapon.

Mathis was arraigned in 20th District Court July 18 on five charges of felonious assault and one count of felony firearms possession. He faces a maximum of 25 years in prison.

Mathis is being held in the Wayne County Jail, where he is awaiting a preliminary examination of the evidence against him before Judge David Turfe, scheduled for 9 a.m. today.

(Daniel Heraty can be reached at